Though it was cold and rainy for several days before this year’s Short’s to Short’s, 128 brave paddlers gathered at the Bellaire boat launch early last Friday morning to participate in the 3rd Annual S2S Paddle. And, although it was raining and cloudy when we went to bed the night before, the morning of the Paddle dawned clear, cool, and calm. By 7:00 a.m., paddlers were streaming into Bellaire. Though we had a couple setbacks (the porta-potty to be delivered on Thursday night arrived just moments after all of the participants departed), everyone worked together to get ready for the paddle and, by the time we took the group picture at 7:30, almost everyone was ready to get onto the water.
The growth of this event from 25 participants in 2009, to 80 in 2010, and 128 this year, has been very rewarding to all of us at Short’s. We do not have verification of this, but have been told that this event is now among the largest (if not the largest) kayaking events in Michigan. However, we are most proud of the good natured, adventurous spirit exemplified by all of this year’s S2S Paddlers. We have several great ideas to improve the event for next year, and look forward to continued growth into the future!
While the S2S is not a race, we were fortunate this year that Denny Paull, an avid paddler and kayak racer, participated. While most of us finish the S2S in 8-10 hours, Denny finished in just 4 hours and 45 minutes, and that was stopping at each of the drop out points noted on the S2S map (not a requirement of the event). Denny reported that even in his long distance events, he had never paddled more than 20 miles and was not sure how his body and mind would hold up. No less, Denny beat his goal of finishing the 27.2 mile event in under 5 hours. We congratulate Denny on his awesome accomplishment and hope that he will return next year to turn in an even faster, self-timed course record!
Exemplifying the dynamic nature of Short’s events, the most talked about finishers of this year’s S2S Paddle were Dave Clapp and his sister, Anne Blount. Dave finished restoring his grandfather’s 1940s-era wooden rowboat just two days before this year’s event and decided that an appropriate way to christen this beautiful watercraft would be to paddle it “from Short’s to Short’s.” Setting out from Bellaire in the early morning and taking turns rowing all day long, Dave and Anne arrived at the Riverwalk at about 8:30 p.m. to great applause (most of us had been enjoying Short’s Brew on draft for a few hours and were in especially good sprits!).
Denny Paull’s race-pace, contrasted against Dave and Anne’s epic display of perseverance to honor a late relative’s hand-built boat, demonstrate the true “choose your own” adventure nature of the Short’s to Short’s Paddle. Both the first finisher and the last were, equally impressive, and equally appreciated! From all of us at Short’s, we thank everyone who participated in and volunteered to help make this year’s event such a huge success.
To view Joe’s photos from the event, click here. To view Matt’s photos, click here. And for those of you who attended Short’s 7th Anniversary Party on Saturday night, stay tuned for our recap of that event, which will be posted soon!
– Short’s Brewing Company Paddle Organizers